Since ancient times, Asian women have used rice water to beautify their hair, face and body.
There is a tribe known as Red Yao in a Chinese village called Huangluo, popularly known as the land of Rapunzels. Traditionally, the Yao ethnic women from the village of Huangluo in China cleanse their hair with fermented rice water. With their average hair length of about 6 feet, these women made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s longest hair village”. Moreover they do not have grey hair till their late 80s. The Yao women believe that the fermented rice water helps to keep their hair long, dark and clean. Rice water also enables these women to de-tangle and manage their long hair.
Need another proof? If we look back to the ancient Heian period in Japan, the noble women of the Japanese Imperial Court in 800 AD were known for their beautiful, long hair that draped to the floor. The secret – they washed their hair with rice water.
Is Rice Water Good For Your Hair?
Researchers have found that rice water has inositol, a carbohydrate, which can penetrate damaged hair and repair it from inside out. It even protects hair from future damage. Specialized imaging technique shows that inositol stays in the hair even after the rice water is rinsed off, acting as a shield and protecting the hair from damage.
Rice water also has amino acids that strengthen the hair roots, enhancing hair volume, and make the hair shiny and smooth.
Another study has confirmed that rice water has hair care qualities, like reducing surface friction and promoting hair elasticity.
So, rinsing or washing your hair with rice water increases hair manageability and protect it from future damage. Moreover, the presence of amino acids in the rice water make the hair roots stronger, add volume & luster – transforming your hair into silky smooth tresses.
What Is Rice Water?
Before we cook rice, we soak it in water and then strain it. The strained out water becomes a milky liquid due to the starch residue left behind from the rice. This milky water is rich in minerals and vitamins and makes for a healthy drink.
So remember next time when you cook rice, do not throw the water away because it can work wonders on your hair and skin.
Plain Rice Water Vs. Fermented Rice Water – Which Gives Best Results?
Rice water has two main variations, namely, plain rice water and fermented rice water. Let’s find out which one works better on hair.
Fermented rice water is rice water that is left to ferment and has gone a little sour.
Plain rice water’s pH is higher than your hair’s pH. Fermentation process lowers the pH levels of the rice water to bring it closer to that of your hair. It helps close the cuticles, and so protects the hair.
Fermentation increases the existing vitamins and nutrients levels in the rice water, which nourish your hair follicles to promote healthy hair growth, and improve overall condition of hair.
Fermented rice water is slightly acidic. So, when you rinse your hair with it, it helps restore and balance the pH of your hair.
Also, during fermentation, the effects of rice water are further increased. It gets richer in antioxidants, minerals, amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin E, and traces of Pitera, a substance formed during the fermentation process. ‘Pitera’ has lately grown in popularity, and is touted as the anti-aging elixir due to its ability to promote cell regeneration, and help skin stay young and beautiful.
Due to the all above extra benefits, washing or rinsing your hair with fermented rice water may be better than rinsing with unfermented or plain rice water.
How To Make Rice Water For Hair?
You can use either plain or fermented rice water for hair. Here I am sharing with you all about their benefits, simple methods to prepare them at home, which one of them works better for the hair and how to use them for your hair effectively to make it soft, stronger, healthy and provide extra shine and volume to it.
Plain Rice Water
You will need:
(i) Uncooked rice: 1/2 cup (brown, white long grain, white short grain, jasmine, or whatever you have)
(ii) Water: 2 to 3 cups
(i) First rinse the 1/2 cup rice with about a cup of water to remove any dirt or impurities. Of course, you don’t want to apply dirt on to your hair.
(ii) Put the rinsed 1/2 cup rice in a bowl and cover with 2 to 3 cups of water. Let the rice soak for about 30 minutes. Swirl it around or lightly knead it until the water becomes cloudy. This will ensure that the vitamins and minerals seep into the water, producing a nourishing rinse for your hair.
(iii) Strain the rice, this time reserving the water. Your rice water is ready to use. Store the rice for later use, or cook it up!
Tip: If you don’t want to cook the rice then just grind the left over rice to make a body scrub or face mask.
Note: You can either use this plain rice water for your hair or let it ferment for greater benefit.
How To Make Fermented Rice Water For Hair?
Once you have collected your plain rice water, transfer the liquid you obtain to a jar. Let it sit at room temperature for a day or two, until you notice a sour smell emanating from the jar – implying that it has started to ferment. Stop the fermentation and shift the jar to the fridge.
(i) It may take any where between 24 to 48 hours, depending on how warm it is. Warmer the room temperature faster is the fermentation process.
(ii) Fermentation turns the rice water into a potent liquid that needs to be diluted before use. Add a cup or two of warm water before you use the fermented rice water. Adjust according to your hair type and its needs; use more for dry hair and less for oily hair.
Storage: You can store the rice water in the fridge for up to a week. It can remain good till that time. Shake it before use.
How To Use Rice Water For Hair – Rice Water For Hair Before And After!
You can use rose water for your hair once or twice a week, either as hair wash or last rinse. I recommend the latter.
Rice Water Rinse
Rinsing your hair with rice water provides shine to your hair and helps in keeping it strong and healthy.
Rice water – plain or fermented – works as an incredible conditioner. It not only repairs and strengthens damaged hair shaft, but also imparts elasticity and smoothness to your mane.
Tip: Add a few drops of an essential oil such as rosemary, lavender or chamomile for super nourishment.
(ii) Shampoo your hair as usual and then pour the rice water over it. Leave it on for 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the time you have.
(iii) Gently massage your hair and scalp during this period.
(iv) Rinse your hair thoroughly with normal water after you are done. Use it at least once a week, as a last rinse, and enjoy improvement in the health and texture of your hair.
Rice Water Shampoo
Rice water contains natural saponins, so it can also be used as a mild cleanser. However to avoid and remove the build-up of rice water in your hair over time due to hard water, you must add a teaspoon of a natural clarifier like amla powder, shikakai powder, green tea, lime juice, lime peel or powder, to it. It will help remove any build up and make your hair extra soft and shiny. Add about 1 teaspoon in one cup of rice water and use as suggested.
Rice Water Hair Conditioner
Consider using rice water as a conditioner – yes, it works as a good and cost-effective hair conditioner. Mix in a few drops of rosemary, lavender, or geranium essential with it, and you are good to go.
Apply the mixture to the entire length of your hair. Leave it on for anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes and then rinse it off with cold water.
Try this incredible conditioner. Rice water acts as a great conditioner capable of repairing hair, strengthening roots, and increasing its elasticity.
Are you getting eager to try rice water on your hair? Well, let me share with you one thing before you go ahead – rice water is not great smelling solution, especially fermented rice water. But then to enjoy beautiful, hydrated, radiant hair – you have to sacrifice a wee bit!